And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kenya Update

Dear Brother Pastor Pinkley, Sister Kari and sister Tiffany!!
I am so glad and thankful to you all for your prayer support for me to get a bicycle to give me an easy transportation from one place to another to reach many souls with the word God to be healed, saved and delivered from the bandage of Satan and from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God!!
Please receive the attachment of my picture and a bicycle and my back with bible inside on the bicycle!!
And the other picture is I and the pictures of the orphans standing by their uniforms and carrying their bags with schoolbooks. These orphans I’m taking them to the school where they are learning through the help of sister Kari and pastor pinkely church members’ supports!!
I am very glad to get this bicycle and I am still on my knees praying for more and more blessings for all the children who contributed for the bicycle!!
May God bless you all always so that you would send also motorcycle for more easier work for the ministry.
Yours with love and prayers,
Pastor John Kaoto.a

Thursday, May 22, 2008

For Days ....

For Days….
For days the tyranny of the urgent has been knocking at my door. Even this morning at the dawning hours someone came to the church with “business”. And that is how it always will be. There shall constantly and consistently be “beggars for bread” and I have little to feed with at this point.

My greatest need in this hour is to be fed myself. For days it seems I have not dined on the word, only snacked. One night it is only 3 hours of sleep, then one day its meetings. I often arise and set about to nourish my spirit in the Word but even I am a distraction to myself.

The solution is Christ. It is begging Him to do what I can not. It is also a denial of self (indulgence) to develop a habit and character of constantly choosing Him above all else. Some days are obviously harder than others.

So here I write, when maybe I should be reading. But I write from a heart that is being filled with the glory of God. So I am being fed. Coming to mind are His words that I have memorized. The eyes given to me are beholding a beautiful vision of the present sunrise that turns the stormy sky a cobalt blue and the cornfields aglow. Even the scent of the air gives expression of God’s glory.

Though no one may ever read this blog entry, as a tree falls in the forest with no one around may God be pleased with this sound that is for Him alone.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Right Values and Perspective Get Us To The Finish Line

Right Values and Perspective Get Us To The Finish Line
Its well known that even Spurgeon had fits of depression in which he languished. Several of we pastors have had the doldrums at times. I personally have caused my wife no small sense of foreboding in the ministry as at times I truly have wanted to give up. There have been days that if a good job had made itself available I would have quit and moved on.

But the call of God is irrevocable.

So What has turned me around?
First off, let me set the stage. It had been an incredibly hard year. Even worse that previous dealings with embezzlers, liars, and cultists. People were quitting their positions left and right, walking away from the church and God. To this day many of those have never returned. God used that situation to break me. They could quit and thus dishonor the Lord, but could I? Would I really want to live the rest of my life and stand before God with the turning away from Him on my record? Quitting says "God was wrong, God could not keep His promises".

So quitting is not an option. "God will supply all my needs" kept coming to mind. I then began as directed by God to search the scriptures and list promises for His glory. Mind you I was not looking for promises unto me, but those things by which God has said He would stand by and honor in respect to His name and glory. There are a multitude of these in every book of the Bible. But I can clearly say that Romans 8 became my hallmark. God took pity upon me and made that chapter real. It was not just words on a page or intellect, but it was reality for every situation. I could hurl no excuse, lament no problem, I was set free to give everything up to God and let Him bear the burden. What freedom that is.

Let me encourage you, seek the Lord as I did, asking Him to give His perspective and make the scriptures real. So often we read the Bible as to what’s in it for us, but its meant to be read to look at God.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Musings About Persevering Alongside My Wife

Musings About Persevering Alongside My Wife

In all the struggles I have had to deal with in ministry, no one person this side of Heaven has helped me more than my wife. Now God will send along people from time to time who are given for the moments need. However, no one can surpass God’s plan for perseverance in the ministry that the pastor’s wife as a paraclete.

That being said, the marriage of a pastor ought to be of utmost importance. It should follow the joy of the quiet time. Now I am not a perfect husband, but what follows are a few items that have solidified our marriage and added to perseverance in the hardest of times.

Daily have time to talk uninterrupted at levels of planning, rejoicing, learning, and intimacy. Planning means we go over schedules and calendars, concrete things as well as tentative plans.
Rejoicing gives each of us an opportunity to share what wishes for the day and experiences we have had that were significant to us.
Learning gives each of us an opportunity to discover something new as well as teach form our perspective. This is often sharing of scripture and updating one another on the kids.
Intimacy deals with the emotional levels and struggles of life. It also is a time to share wishes and desires.

Pray with your wife. Make it real prayer too. This leads to inspiration and meditation. It lets God bring solutions as Truth that sets us free.

Get her perspective. Wives often have what I call “Radar”. They can pick up on things and perspectives of people and situations that we men can not fathom. They are usually right.
Often let your wife set the pace. I am headstrong and rust to fix everything. Often my wife will give caution to not react till morning. Heeding this advice has saved me from many sorrows.

If my wife gives me a scripture there is usually good reason. I may not need it in that moment, but I will certainly need it before the week is over.

Keep her #2. Nothing will bring perseverance in your ministry like perseverance in your marriage. Without the home following God, we are unfit for ministry. Honor God by honoring the wife of your youth and you will find unhindered access to God.

A Character of Love. If you truly love your wife, your actions will form habits, those form character, and thusly you will have a heart of true love. Much has been written about love languages and such. These have great insights, but give your wife love as Christ loved the church, and your ministry will persevere.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cross Centered Living

Cross Centered Living

In the next few weeks I will be finishing my set of sermons working through the Sermon on the Mount. We will then begin in Matthew 16. The next Matthew passage takes us through several hard questions to apply to our life. The context of it all is the denial of self, the taking up of the cross, and following Jesus. Our church stands at a great moment to be doing so. For even if we are but a match light in a dark cave, we will bring illumination. Not it is the work of God, not of ourselves. But even though the times are dark, we by contrast can show live giving light.

So this list below is a compilation, though not exhaustive, of questions that call us to persevere. As a pastor my doubts and issues must all be held against the cross. If we look at the assailments against us and the daily grind of original sin we can have a much greater perspective on that grace that has been bestowed.

Enjoy the list……..

Cross centered living………
Involves our thinking, what do we think about and to what depth
What values do we have?
What do we consider frivolous.
How different are we from the world?
What power is in our life as it relates to waiting upon God for Him to move and not for our manipulation of situations?
Given that the cross deals with sin, what sanctification is evident in my life? What sin do I long to rid myself of?
What brings me joy?
What moments with God have I cherished?
Name the references of scriptures that guide your heart? If you live by them you will have a kinship with them.
Since I bear the cross, denying self and following Him? Where has He led me and through what trials? What have I learned of Him in my trials that is unforgettable? How was I changed?
How have I denied self? Or what have I given up to gain Christ?
What do we allow into our lives and what do we pour out?
How often do we seek change?
How often can we point to change happening?
Where is my free time spent?
To where does my mind wander?
What is my hope for the future?
What goals do I have? Are they cross centered?
Have I ever taken a stand in the world to speak out against sin? Have I squelched gossip?
Do I Berean my advisors or take everything as gospel?
What is my language like?
Do I understand what it is to worship?
Do I regularly give God glory and credit?
Do I rejoice at righteousness?
Do I desire that others advance just as long as I advance too?
What is my prayer life like? What do I ask for?
What do I do when it comes to repentance?
How often am I at peace?
What is the Sabbath day in my life as compared to scripture?
What entertains me?
What educates me?
If asked, what verse dominates my current thought life?
What investment am I making into the life of my family?
What investment am I making into the life of someone outside my family?
Have I sacrificed?
What pains have I bore and kept silent about a s to not exalt self?
Are the songs I am moved by man or cross centered?
Have I glorified Christ by leading others to faith in Him? How often?
Am I more concerned about His name or someone’s feelings getting hurt?
How easily swayed am I?
What authors have I cherished and how did they finish the race?
Do I find tithing an issue of difficulty?
Do I sacrificially give, expecting no return, and find it pleasing?
Do I limit God by agreeing to act a certain way only if circumstances are favorable?
Have I persevered?
In what way?
Was my perseverance temporary or long term?
Have I understood Foxe’s Book of Martyrs?
Do I have a heart for the persecuted church?
How much time to I give to prayer?
How much time to I give to reading His Word?
What did the preacher preach on Sunday?
What did I teach my children last week?
Do I look forward to Sunday?
How do I show it on Saturday?
How have I trusted my Lord by honoring my pastor?
What was the last lesson God taught me?
What was the last thing God told me to do?
How do I know His voice?
What lengths have I gone to to hide His word in my heart?
What else is in my heart?
To whom have I sought forgiveness?
Where have I ever made restitution?
What does my schedule reveal?
What are the heart plans of my retirement?
Have I ever said “No Lord”?
Do I obey?
Could my children point out that I say one thing and do the opposite?
Can my spouse or children reveal that I act a particular way when people are looking at me and another at home?
What would embarrass me if it were found out?
Knowing Christ, what of my past would I have done differently?
How and I living differently now?
How am I discipline others not to make the mistakes I have made?
Do I call sin as sin, or is it a mistake, problem, ongoing temptation, or other watered down name?
How is my self esteem?
Can you justify self esteem and denial of self?
What do you do with compliments?
What “trophies” do you display?
How long do you spend time in prayer? How deep do yours prayers go before it is time to stop?
Have you skipped meals to spend more time in bible study or prayer?
What keeps you home from church and fellowship with the brethren?
When at home, what do you do?
Where has your computer been to on the internet?
Do you fear God? In what way?
Do you fear death?
What do I complain about?
How often do I complain and what form does it take?
Am I a master at acting before men?
Do I keep on even when I don’t feel like it?
Whom do I aim to please?
Am I dissatisfied with the amount of worship I am involved in?
What awes me about God?
How do you actively love your enemies?

Expelld: A Commentary on the Culture

Expelled is A commentary on the culture.

Last week I was able to attend a showing of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This documentary by Ben Stein has been lauded by several leaders of the Christian community at large. It puts into order many of the pieces of the ongoing politically charged pseudo-science affront to keep the intelligent design investigation suppressed.

A few years ago Al Gore won an Oscar for his film entitled An Inconvenient Truth. It dealt with global warming as a verifiable fact. However it has yet to be seen through verifiable data. It has been praised by Hollywood, (Like minds think alike) and some scientists, and been blasted by suppressed scientists. As a matter of fact a month ago the John Coleman, owner of the Weather Channel stated in an Associated Press report of March 13, 2008 that Al Gore ought to be sued for fraudulent claims from his documentary.

But this article isn’t about Al Gore and the statements the Darwinian scientists want to make. Its about freedom of speech as outlined in Expelled. You see, Darwinists, like global warming enthusiasts who have yet to prove anything or find the missing link, don’t play fair. They have a set of rules that allows them to propagate their ideology, but if a Intelligent Design theorist wishes to speak up or conduct research they seemingly harass and change the rules of tolerance at will.

Now think about this, if I theorize that the moon is made of green cheese, I get laughed and dismissed as crazy, but I am not attacked. Why because it is no threat to your worldview. Tests can be made to disprove my ideology and thus I am dismissed as a non issue. But when an ID Scientists puts out facts and plausible arguments or even questions evolution, which has scientific sustainability, they are immediately scholastically exiled and treated as a cockroach. Why, because the basis truth of Romans 1 is the Darwinists want to live without God so that there are no moral absolutes to challenge their lifestyles, read that sinful revelry.

Mr. Stein and company bring forth a difficult subject that often will not interest others in a palatable way. Within the confines of the ninety minutes or so of screen time, Ben takes on the heavy hitters, specifically Richard Dawkins. Dawkins has since seen the movie and ranted that he was filmed under false pretenses. I ask you Mr. Dawkins, would you have a different opinion based upon a different audience? Regardless, Dawkins is the head atheist at large today. His book The God Delusion has made him extremely wealthy and brought great fame. I just wish all who have read his book would also read Alister and Joanna McGrath’s book The Dawkins Delusion.

Being one that has followed much of the Darwinian debate and ID controversy, I found Expelled to be a great summary of the murmuring. Having read the McGrath’s book a few months ago, I found that Expelled does a great job. Its not fancy editing and sound bites. Its good investigation. It’s not quite balanced in letting the evolutionists explain why they believe the way they do, but then again, if there is no evidence you don’t have much to say. Listed below are some great sources I have found in the ID/Darwinian debate.

But again, the movie is about free speech. False ideas ought to be shown as such and then dismissed. But as it is shown ID does not even get a pretrial. Its scourged and whispered about. It is not surprising that George Mason University, The Smithsonian, and several others take a stand against ID. But what shocked me most is that Baylor University, a once Christian school (Maybe they are still but they are going the way of Biola) had the audacity to fire/remove/dismiss a professor who had favorable thoughts of ID. That is just unthinkable, but it happened.

Controversy is not new. Much of the New Testament was written on the basis of informing the church of who Truth is when distortions abound. Remember, evolution is an effort to do away with God. When you go to this movie, and I think you should, take a pad of paper and pen. Write down the names of these scientists. Then dig deeper, know the arguments of ID and what scripture has to say to these theories and be prepared to engage in the culture.

You can’t help but make a comparison between the two movies An Inconvenient Truth and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Ben Stein will not win an Oscar. He won’t even be nominated.

Other Resources….
ID topics
Alister and Joanna McGrath The Dawkins Delusion
Darwin on Trial, Philip Johnson
Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe

Bible Resources

Dissecting the arguments
Why Good Arguments Often Fail, James Sire

Why Would We Expect God to Act Differently Today?

Why Would We Expect God to Act Differently Today.

Baptists are quick to say “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever”. That is true, His being God is such that He is complete. If He were to be getting better that would mean that He is not perfect and complete in the present. If it were said that He was diminishing that would say that He is not sustainable and that all His promises will one day be void. These could present serious problems. But the Gospel message of Good news is that God is as He has always been and will be. Therefore we have hope, that is assurance in He who is forever God.

That being said, why would we fathom the possibility that God would contradict something today He has lived by in the past? What I am referring to is the ideology that God acts because He loves us in the state that we are objects of His love due to our loveliness. Remember we are at enmity with God, sinners who’s best attempt at righteousness is but bloody putrid rags (No one ever wants to touch a used band aid) Put another way, many people operate out of a theology that Christ died for them thus they have an infinite value to behold. This leads to all sorts of false thinking such as treating God as a buddy who will let you get away with sin whereas the commandments apply to all others but His pals.

Yes, Christ did die for you, but not based on your merit. Christ died for sinners because of His nature. It is because of who He is. That gives infinite awe to the act of the cross.

The nature of God is to reveal His great name. He is not a secret. He is not simply hidden as a buried treasure, for God can not be contained. God chooses to reveal who He is because that is the nature of God. He is that Whom never sins. In His glory it would be sin to keep such awesome wonder hidden. He has to show His glory otherwise it would be sin. We too sin when we do not revel in joy and love of He through glorification of His holy name.

Returning to my thesis of “Why would we expect God to act differently today”. You see the theology of God loves you puts the emphasis on us. The emphasis of truth is God is love. Love can not be without God. If I go to the store and see a beautiful work of art. I am awestruck by it. It keeps me from thinking about any other priority. My heart races with joy at the object. I do not purchase the shelf it sat on, taking it home to say, look what once was near my object of joy. No I go after the object itself. When we exalt ourselves we are merely glorifying the shelf and attributing to it a false value. This is sin.

When we look in the Old Testament, time and time again God acts not on behalf of men, though they are a shelf to behold His glory, He acts because of His holy name. "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. (Ezekiel 36:23)

His name represents who He is. God saves men because He is holy. We need to return to this way of valuing the things revealed world. It represents cross centered thinking. God’s theology has not changed. Blessings and revelation are meant for us to glorify Him. We have no value in ourselves to receive or deserve such. The woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and hair got it right. God acts in grace. Thusly all we think, say or do can be unto the glory of God. Solo de Gloria. To God be the glory.